Sunday, September 14, 2014

Book Review: Oliver and the Seawigs

    I’ve reviewed a few Philip Reeve books on here, and regular readers will know he’s a personal favorite.  I discovered him with Larklight, went on to love his epic ultra-far future Predator Cities (formerly Hungry Cities) series, and have read pretty much everything I’ve gotten my hands on since (realized I bought, but never read No Such Thing as Dragons, and have to do something about that one of these days).  So, I snagged his most recent effort, with co-creator Sarah McIntyre in spite of its target demographic.  I don’t have, and am not likely to ever have, children.  So, I may not be the best judge of things related to them.  But this feels like a good book to carry kids over from things like the Magic Treehouse series or Boxcar Children to books like Geronimo Stilton or even Reeve’s other books, like Goblins or Larklight.

    Oliver, the protagonist, is the kind of kid character I responded well to as a wee lad.  He doesn’t get upset or too worried.  He does what needs to be done and he follows life’s path with a jaunty step.  And the other characters in the book are fun and weird.  It looks like Reeve & McIntyre’s next project (Cakes in Space) is unrelated to this, but I’d like to see more adventures of Oliver and friends.  The illustrations are fun and copious, something that I would have loved as a youngster.  I had a devil of a time reading, even though I wanted to do it with all my heart.  Pictures helped me stay focused and keep my mind on the words.  Plus, they helped make the pages go by faster, which made me feel like I was accomplishing something, which in turn made me feel less depressed about my reading issues.  So, kids with reading issues (at least issues similar to the ones I had) might respond to this book, too.  Unlike most of Reeve’s other books, I can’t really recommend this one to adults.  There's nothing wrong with that.  It is a children's book.  And adults with children should enjoy reading it to or along with their spawn.

Oliver and the Seawigs
Authors: Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0-385-38788-0

-Matthew J. Constantine

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